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EXECUTION ZF's progress thread

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ZF Lee

ZF Lee

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WARNING. LONG STORY AHEAD

Alright, at first I was reluctant to share this because I hadn't seen the results I truly wanted.

But I saw a few threads here at risk of action-fake, so I thought some balance is needed...

Anyways...

I went to a seminar. Paid, in the thousands.
I didn't shell out a buck, and it was only because my mum fell into the sales pitch psychology at a free seminar and bought an extra seat for me without consulting me first.

(I'll rant about that some other time)

So, I just went, even though I could have just refused and demanded for a refund.

The seminar was an Entrepreneur MasterClass, at least taught by an ex-Internet marketer who went on to do other different businesses and partnerships (he disclosed that the seminars were just his hobby).

The first 2 out of 3 days pretty much could be learned from TFLF or doing, but he brought in a few of his students, who had pretty well-known brands themselves, to share their experiences ala Progress Thread styles.

The main speaker said in the first day:
'When you all go out for lunch, go have lunch with someone you never met before. Go network.'

Rings like @Kak's challenge thread on meeting 1 new person per day.
(I'd like to do it, but I can say goodbye to studying time for university, given that I'll be travelling out of SCIPRTED academia to the meetups)

On the 2nd day, I went with my mum to a nearby cafe for lunch.

Damn. Full-house.

Then a 40-50-year-old couple invited us to sit at their table.

They wore the seminar participant tags as well.

Throughout the meal, we introduced ourselves, discussed light topics, blablabla…

The next day, we ran into them as well in another café for lunch!

So we sat down, and ordered food.

We talked again.

Turns out, the wife is a Herbalife seller, while the husband (let's call him Joe) is the general manager of a mall (yeah, the actual building where people go shopping).

I listen to my mum mull over the conversation, and then I hear the hubbie mention he is facing some kind of issue with the mall he helps manages.

‘What issue?’ I ask.

‘I need to sell mall space to some educators for expansion of their international school. But the problem is that their purchase of the space won’t get through unless their investors give them money.’

‘Why won’t their investors give them the money?’ I asked.

Joe explained, ‘Well, they are educators. And even worse, they are Americans. They just talk, talk, talk and don’t really understand what investors are truly looking for- financial data. And anyway, the educators don’t know where to get the financial estimates from.’

My mind floated back to my past white paper projects, where I tired myself out scanning through market databases and economic journals for the info.

‘Well…let’s see how I can help?’ I offered.

I took out my notebook, and started probing the guy for info.

Joe was open to share more details.

I popped lots of questions, as one leads to another….

‘How long has the school been in session?’

‘Segments? Primary and secondary school? Great!’

‘Oh, they had past investors? Do they have old pitch decks from that past…huh? They didn’t send in any formal proposals or pitch slides?’

‘Foreign teachers they bring in? OK, from where? What are they good at?’

‘Who’s the founders? What are their names, passions?’

And so on…

After that, I told Joe, the general manager, that I could help him with what I knew about assembling some data together for a quick biz proposal or slides.

Technically, I wasn’t helping him directly.

I would be servicing the educators who needed the investor money, to go buy the mall space from the hubbie’s superiors, to expand their international school.

He thanked me, handed me his biz card and contact, and I said I would send him an informal blueprint of the task the next day. And if it all went well, he would forward my contact to the educators.

And I had a waiting prospect!

Or at worst, just another networking point, and some exercising on value-providing.


If the educators got the investor money, and bought the mall space from John's superiors...

The deal of the new expansion of the international school would be a potential RM15 million deal.

15 million BUCKS (number-to-number)

I have never heard of a freelancer getting close to a 15-million buck deal...

I dunno whether the deal will come through, or what’s the price point for my services will be.

I don’t even have a working Linkedin account. And my Upwork account is still in renovation (I'm changing the copy for the profile write-up again).

I have no business cards, no business name, no endorsing certification.

In fact, all I told John about my abilities was just this:

- I freelance in writing
- I did some white papers involving a little bit of financial data
(as if even putting together CAGR rates was even decent financial data to begin with)

That's all. 2 sentences on what I did in business, so far.

And yet, I got an opening.

Here's the thing though...

I dunno if the paid seminar I went to was the 'thing' that led me to such an occasion.
But I don't think so.

I could have just kept quiet while the adults talked and talked, and just 'be a kid'.

And just shoved my head into lunch, like a pig lol.

Now, looks like I'll have to dig into the private school market in Malaysia, and come up with a basic suggested business proposal blueprint for John to look at, and see what he thinks of it...

EDIT: Thank God for HubSpot. They have some decent templates and samples for proposals and stuff that I can branch out from. Would enable me to focus more on the research process...
 

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ZF Lee

ZF Lee

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Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Jul 27, 2016
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WARNING. LONG STORY AHEAD

Alright, at first I was reluctant to share this because I hadn't seen the results I truly wanted.

But I saw a few threads here at risk of action-fake, so I thought some balance is needed...

Anyways...

I went to a seminar. Paid, in the thousands.
I didn't shell out a buck, and it was only because my mum fell into the sales pitch psychology at a free seminar and bought an extra seat for me without consulting me first.

(I'll rant about that some other time)

So, I just went, even though I could have just refused and demanded for a refund.

The seminar was an Entrepreneur MasterClass, at least taught by an ex-Internet marketer who went on to do other different businesses and partnerships (he disclosed that the seminars were just his hobby).

The first 2 out of 3 days pretty much could be learned from TFLF or doing, but he brought in a few of his students, who had pretty well-known brands themselves, to share their experiences ala Progress Thread styles.

The main speaker said in the first day:
'When you all go out for lunch, go have lunch with someone you never met before. Go network.'

Rings like @Kak's challenge thread on meeting 1 new person per day.
(I'd like to do it, but I can say goodbye to studying time for university, given that I'll be travelling out of SCIPRTED academia to the meetups)

On the 2nd day, I went with my mum to a nearby cafe for lunch.

Damn. Full-house.

Then a 40-50-year-old couple invited us to sit at their table.

They wore the seminar participant tags as well.

Throughout the meal, we introduced ourselves, discussed light topics, blablabla…

The next day, we ran into them as well in another café for lunch!

So we sat down, and ordered food.

We talked again.

Turns out, the wife is a Herbalife seller, while the husband (let's call him Joe) is the general manager of a mall (yeah, the actual building where people go shopping).

I listen to my mum mull over the conversation, and then I hear the hubbie mention he is facing some kind of issue with the mall he helps manages.

‘What issue?’ I ask.

‘I need to sell mall space to some educators for expansion of their international school. But the problem is that their purchase of the space won’t get through unless their investors give them money.’

‘Why won’t their investors give them the money?’ I asked.

Joe explained, ‘Well, they are educators. And even worse, they are Americans. They just talk, talk, talk and don’t really understand what investors are truly looking for- financial data. And anyway, the educators don’t know where to get the financial estimates from.’

My mind floated back to my past white paper projects, where I tired myself out scanning through market databases and economic journals for the info.

‘Well…let’s see how I can help?’ I offered.

I took out my notebook, and started probing the guy for info.

Joe was open to share more details.

I popped lots of questions, as one leads to another….

‘How long has the school been in session?’

‘Segments? Primary and secondary school? Great!’

‘Oh, they had past investors? Do they have old pitch decks from that past…huh? They didn’t send in any formal proposals or pitch slides?’

‘Foreign teachers they bring in? OK, from where? What are they good at?’

‘Who’s the founders? What are their names, passions?’

And so on…

After that, I told Joe, the general manager, that I could help him with what I knew about assembling some data together for a quick biz proposal or slides.

Technically, I wasn’t helping him directly.

I would be servicing the educators who needed the investor money, to go buy the mall space from the hubbie’s superiors, to expand their international school.

He thanked me, handed me his biz card and contact, and I said I would send him an informal blueprint of the task the next day. And if it all went well, he would forward my contact to the educators.

And I had a waiting prospect!

Or at worst, just another networking point, and some exercising on value-providing.


If the educators got the investor money, and bought the mall space from John's superiors...

The deal of the new expansion of the international school would be a potential RM15 million deal.

15 million BUCKS (number-to-number)

I have never heard of a freelancer getting close to a 15-million buck deal...

I dunno whether the deal will come through, or what’s the price point for my services will be.

I don’t even have a working Linkedin account. And my Upwork account is still in renovation (I'm changing the copy for the profile write-up again).

I have no business cards, no business name, no endorsing certification.

In fact, all I told John about my abilities was just this:

- I freelance in writing
- I did some white papers involving a little bit of financial data
(as if even putting together CAGR rates was even decent financial data to begin with)

That's all. 2 sentences on what I did in business, so far.

And yet, I got an opening.

Here's the thing though...

I dunno if the paid seminar I went to was the 'thing' that led me to such an occasion.
But I don't think so.

I could have just kept quiet while the adults talked and talked, and just 'be a kid'.

And just shoved my head into lunch, like a pig lol.

Now, looks like I'll have to dig into the private school market in Malaysia, and come up with a basic suggested business proposal blueprint for John to look at, and see what he thinks of it...

EDIT: Thank God for HubSpot. They have some decent templates and samples for proposals and stuff that I can branch out from. Would enable me to focus more on the research process...
Turns out that contact was a dead-end...but never mind.

Had a lot more repeat clients later, but they started to show lots of problems like being very late or picky on job scope.

Lex's Difficult Clients course popped up timely, and looking thru the videos and materials, it should be a good tool to deploy.

Speaking of good, I joined @458's habit tracker challenge, and found very quickly that the reason behind bad progress was bad habits...not just business habits, but personal ones!

So clean your room before you go out to date, eh?

Keeping up on the tracker did cost me some time and unearned profits from freelancing overall, but I'm glad that I've recovered a better sense of direction and even upped some skills in the process.

Here's the latest update:
Update for 9/12 (Mon) to 15/12 (Sun)

GOALS
-cook at least THREE times a week- MET, but I should extend my mealprep to cover more than 2-3 days

-Take supplements TWO times a day- MET except Mon, Tues and Sat

-sleep at least 6 hrs a night- MET, with 4 days at least turning in for the night at 10pm-12am...a lot more earlier and optimum

Overslept on Friday though...

-one email/sales copy breakdown- MET, except Wed

-walk more than 1000 steps- MET

-go to gym at least 2 times a week- NOT MET, only treadmill on Tuesday

-Prayer journal/ Bible reading or sharing 3 times in the week
->
NOT MET...only on Tues and Wed

Networking
Met new: 0
Follow-up: 1

Online course progress
-now on Lex's Difficult Clients course...the Preparation section is pretty much PMP stuff, which I had ignored in my freelancing game to my folly. So, a lot more homework watching vids and drafting docs from sample examples from the course at the same time...

Upwork gigs
Somehow proposals conversions/referrals are flat...people celebrating Christmas I guess.

I had heard my girl was meeting a boy in her faraway college...but I didn't think much, as long she knew her limits.

Then, out of a blue, that guy CALLS ME, asking me to 'stop contacting her'.

I said that it was up to her to read my messages or not, or get my calls.

Then I told him in no uncertain terms that my girl was there to study, not fool around. And that he was better off keeping merely a business relationship.

My girl stepped in quick to stop a brewing argument...and she asked me to give things a break for now.

I was sad...but I said alright. I told her to be careful, and then left the chat.

Tonight, I went back to my work, to update the tracker, do my copywriting, entertain Christmas calls from my networkings...and then I realised it wasn't the end of the world!

My girl might come back...or she may not.

But there was work and improvements to be done, even though I'll stick to my promise to her to master the Fastlane.

I realised a few of my habits, like prayer and Bible reading, had been built up a lot more consistently, even though they sometimes missed the weekly goal. I used to NEVER do them, but now, I saw so much I have missed in understanding the Word.

And that helped me to talk with that guy as calmly and diplomatic as possible.

Also, for my email copywriting, I'm still stuck doing Seinfield format emails.
But I noticed I was cranking out their stories and offers much more quicker...and I could find quick pain points to talk about in the markets of the subject concern.

This tracker works, and I'll continue with it!
Reminds me of how Altucher told his readers to build up on physical, spiritual, emotional and networking health- to act as a buffer against the sudden losses.

Thanks @458! Owe you one.

EDIT: Following what I wrote in the spoilers tag, I'll repost this on my own progress thread...that shit's getting empty and dusty lol. And this feels very much like an important personal milestone.
 
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ZF Lee

ZF Lee

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Eek, time to update this dusty thread.

Lots of things going on:
-Successfully re-tooled my Upwork profile, as Lex's Udemy course ordered.
Took some lengthy weeks, what with grappling with COVID and college.

But got it done finally, and was shocked to land more jobs than I ever did in the last few months.

A lesson learned: Target clients from YOUR HOME COUNTRY. Apparently, Malaysia isn't dead for business. Folks from there still hire haha.

Another lesson learned:
Have some side hobbies to support your skillset. In my case, I was able to get a job writing crypto emails because I told the client I could read financial statements and charts- some of it which still carries over into the crypto.

I also knew enough of financial writing, to write a sample advertorial that he liked.

And yeah, keep swipe emails for inspiration and sense of congruence.


Some interesting jobs...a crypto email newsletter...cold emails...stuff I've never got around to doing before, but is possible to dig into.

Was expecting COVID to take my head, but apparently the world still turns.

-Joined Lex's Minions group on Discord for more freelance-orientated discussions, and its a blast! Glad to find many Fastlaners there, but still, here's ground base.

-Opened a PeoplePerHour profile to expand a front, but got repulsed by the sheer lack of niched/interesting jobs.

-Might be looking to make a website for clients and an email list (first is simple to start, second will have to look into several avenues I won't mind buying a solid course on), but I can retool my Quora page into a copywriter lead channel as well. Will take some time...

Now it seems that this 'hustle' will have to take on more business-like legs.

I'll just ramp up on client work, and we'll see where this takes us to.
 
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ZF Lee

ZF Lee

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Eek, time to update this dusty thread.

Lots of things going on:
-Successfully re-tooled my Upwork profile, as Lex's Udemy course ordered.
Took some lengthy weeks, what with grappling with COVID and college.

But got it done finally, and was shocked to land more jobs than I ever did in the last few months.

A lesson learned: Target clients from YOUR HOME COUNTRY. Apparently, Malaysia isn't dead for business. Folks from there still hire haha.

Another lesson learned:
Have some side hobbies to support your skillset. In my case, I was able to get a job writing crypto emails because I told the client I could read financial statements and charts- some of it which still carries over into the crypto.

I also knew enough of financial writing, to write a sample advertorial that he liked.

And yeah, keep swipe emails for inspiration and sense of congruence.


Some interesting jobs...a crypto email newsletter...cold emails...stuff I've never got around to doing before, but is possible to dig into.

Was expecting COVID to take my head, but apparently the world still turns.

-Joined Lex's Minions group on Discord for more freelance-orientated discussions, and its a blast! Glad to find many Fastlaners there, but still, here's ground base.

-Opened a PeoplePerHour profile to expand a front, but got repulsed by the sheer lack of niched/interesting jobs.

-Might be looking to make a website for clients and an email list (first is simple to start, second will have to look into several avenues I won't mind buying a solid course on), but I can retool my Quora page into a copywriter lead channel as well. Will take some time...

Now it seems that this 'hustle' will have to take on more business-like legs.

I'll just ramp up on client work, and we'll see where this takes us to.
Landed my first monthly retainer client (since my Upwork profile update).
Hit an income level AS MUCH as my allowance from parents.
A few steps to go...

Got paid an initial deposit, but probably I should have offered a hire retainer rate, plus spread out milestone payments further across the month.

That's for next month to discuss, if all goes well.

This client is giving me a shit-ton of work though. Digital marketing agency.
Has me writing copy for national brands I never thought I'd write copy for.
And on some stiff deadlines too.

Even if this gig fizzles out, I will have TRUCKLOADS to add to my portfolio.
My client is interested in trying out a commissions-based model though.
I said I'm open to it.

Had to also start rejecting Upwork invites asking for full-time freelancers, but I might like to take up part-time projects after the last of my university projects clear up...

Now my only issues are:
a. Learning how to research and write faster (so I have more time for other things)
b. Optimize my retainer/payment packages well enough
 
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ZF Lee

ZF Lee

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Landed my first monthly retainer client (since my Upwork profile update).
Hit an income level AS MUCH as my allowance from parents.
A few steps to go...

Got paid an initial deposit, but probably I should have offered a hire retainer rate, plus spread out milestone payments further across the month.

That's for next month to discuss, if all goes well.

This client is giving me a shit-ton of work though. Digital marketing agency.
Has me writing copy for national brands I never thought I'd write copy for.
And on some stiff deadlines too.

Even if this gig fizzles out, I will have TRUCKLOADS to add to my portfolio.
My client is interested in trying out a commissions-based model though.
I said I'm open to it.

Had to also start rejecting Upwork invites asking for full-time freelancers, but I might like to take up part-time projects after the last of my university projects clear up...

Now my only issues are:
a. Learning how to research and write faster (so I have more time for other things)
b. Optimize my retainer/payment packages well enough
While this same client has tons of interesting work, apparently out of the blue, he expects me to work full-time on his team!

I had to say no to it.
Repeat projects are a freelancer's wet dream, but full-time to one client isn't for me.

I offered him 3 service packages, with specific types of project scopes and available time slots and 'rush projects'...the higher the price, the more goodies and time he could expect from me.

While the service packages would definitely not allow him as much free rein to ask for deliverables or a free-flow of consult time from me, at least they'll ensure I have enough mojo to get him quality works.

At first, he said he could only decide at the end of the month.
When I encouraged him to get it done by Wednesday, he then agreed to make his decision by Friday.
That's a delay...but guess that's what I could do.

I probably should have been more upfront on my time boundaries and work scope though. He was asking me to do other non-copywriting work like Linkedin profile posting and Facebook group posting.

Since I have been spending lots of time here, that wasn't a problem with me, and got his posts a bunch of comments and engagement...which I could probably snapshot and parade around on my portfolio.

Actually, I wouldn't have done this, if I didn't face SO MANY difficulties with team projects for my college Data Mining unit, which often clashed with my freelance work.

When the data mining got too tough, two members just alternated between disappearing into the woods or putting up work shoddier than stale sweetmeat.

Tonight, I'm just gasping at the PowerPoint slides they've made for our upcoming video presentation. Grown future data scientists-to-be who CAN'T EVEN CRAFT A STRAIGHT STORY BASED ON A REPORT THAT WAS ALREADY WRITTEN.

Guess that's because me and another member (bless her) did 70% of the pre-processing hell.
Not them. And you can't write on something you weren't willing to have a part of.

And I couldn't even rest easy after each data session... I had to rush back and write copy on the fly for the client.

If it weren't for HOURS and MONTHS pouring over and re-writing Ben Settle emails to train my copy muscle, I'd be burnt out in full by now.

I'm not even going to put out all stops to polish the slides to full, even though I can.
I'll just make sure it has the bare info and structure needed, and that's that.

I'm bitterly disappointed in future college grads.

On the bright side though, Upwork invites are racing in. I had to reject many of them, but I invited them to call me again 1-2 weeks later if they still wanted to work with me.

EDIT:
I'm finding that I'm running out of hours.
And the usual pathway of upselling clients/building goodwill with value has its limits.

I'm considering a'client-less' model after reading this:
I don't think I'll purchase that course today, but I might experiment on that, once I get cleared with that prominent client (and the remnants of my evil college assignments) for good.
 
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Odysseus M Jones

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At first, he said he could only decide at the end of the month.
When I encouraged him to get it done by Wednesday, he then agreed to make his decision by Friday.
That's a delay...but guess that's what I could do.
Friday has been & gone buddy, spill the beans.
 
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ZF Lee

ZF Lee

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Friday has been & gone buddy, spill the beans.
Oh, he asked me to pause for a while.
Apparently he’s noticed his HR structure needs TONS of improvements, and is working on that now.

He said he’s still interested to work with me though, so I’ll wait and see.

So, one lesson/pain point I see here is that you can’t totally depend on freelancers/temps/employees for the secret sauce of your brand, especially if you are offering services.

Strategic delegation is needed.

You can hire for great talent, but ultimately, you steer the ship and combine the outputs together.

Earlier, my client ran into some mess dealing with his online team...which makes me wonder if traditional offline workplaces aren’t so bad after all. He got the deliverables resolved, but he got a fever after that batch. I wonder if that wasn’t from him burning out.

In the meantime, I’m working on getting more Upwork jobs (for some reasons, my success score dropped to 85% even though I hadn’t had a bad review in ages), and also on a side email marketing project.

P.S Thanks for the ‘likes’ spree. If we still had the Rep Bank and MJ’s Fastlane store, I’d go on a shopping rampage :hilarious::devil:
 
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ZF Lee

ZF Lee

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Interesting stuff with a freelance client...

Hired me for email copy, but out of the blue, got me to do social media posting.

So I have to work with his other graphic designers and other folks.

But I didn't know frack about social media. I had quarantined myself from Fakebook for a long time.
And content marketing is a lot different from copywriting, despite some similarities.

How did I pick up social media fundamentals?
1. Found MeetEdgar's Social Brilliant course

2. Learned from Social Brilliant NOT to chase virality, but consistent and relevance- not too different from Seinfield emails!

3. Realised that there's different types of social media posts to do, besides offers:
- inspirational quotes
-life stories
-FAQ
-pain-points teasing
-trolling tolls
-reposts (but not always)
-article shares

And so on.

What might be MORE important is to plan a content calender first.

4. Picked a few role models with VERY interesting content to mirror from.
One of my best models to look at is Dollar Shave Club. Very good graphics design and punchy messages. Once in a while, they give me good ideas for content for health markets!

5. Did a few on canvas + stock images, and my client's picked 3 out of a bunch. They should be released within this week.
 
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ZF Lee

ZF Lee

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Interesting convo today...

That client called me up today for an evening feedback session.
For context, I'm helping her to write copy for her digital marketing agency clients- so they are outsourcing work to me lol.

First, she said the agency clients liked my taglines and general copy, from my past projects this week.
Then, she said they didn't like my grammar, and how the copy turned out in the end.

The other copywriter on the call with us (who works with me to translate into Malay) started blabbering about how she needed X information, Y hours to complete task, etc.

Then my client asked us if we did any research.

I just waited until she finished talking, and then told the client:

1. I told her I DO have eyes on the industry, and even competitor emails or sales copy (I even named 2 BRANDS whose email copy AND customer avatar are very similar to theirs).

2. I did not find any problems giving good grammar.
Nowhere in my revisions requests was I asked to amend spelling errors or syntax.
And I have Grammarly on guard.

3. The only things I was told to revise, was to remove lots of things which were actually simple personalization sentences- such as 'Was your work-day tougher than KL traffic?'

And it was THEIR FEEDBACK that directed me to REMOVE them.

So I followed accordingly...and now they are pointing fingers at me for doing what THEY TOLD ME to do so lol.

I told my client that I would do my best to follow their scope and pointers while putting new stuff to the table...but that's so much I can do.

4. I also reminded her I could only work at this current capacity until end of September due to more complex projects on my plate (I had told her weeks before)...but that I'm considering flying off by August's end as my projects were getting 'more urgent'
(I'm basically telling her "Fire me if you wish, if ya don't like me. I got my own biz to do.")

She thanked me, and said that was fine, bla bla bla, clients are just like that, just do research...

Then she asked me to do some Facebook chatbots copy tomorrow.

I asked her to send me the brief, so I can finish them tonight, just in time for Saturday.
I still haven't gotten it...only got one photo of their old chatbot thru WhatsApp.

I've been through a chatbot sequence to buy an online course before, so I KNOW roughly how to put one together.

Maybe she'll send me the full brief tomorrow, so I wrote a short draft first, and will be going to bed soon. Here's a good article on chatbot copy:

On the bright side, I just got my 30% deposit from her, for the monthly retainer that lasts until end of August.

So either I'll have enough happy time to work till September's end for them, or I'll see myself out by August. Which is no big deal. I had to decline SIX Upwork requests in the last 2 weeks, and one was a repeat prospect.

And there's my clientless email project on the horizon.

For freelancing though...@theag was right.

What a drag...Might as well I write copy for my own products, instead of others...
 

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Great thread! Somehow I had never seen this until now. Love reading about your progress!
 
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ZF Lee

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Great thread! Somehow I had never seen this until now. Love reading about your progress!
Thanks.
Wait for the end of the week! I'll probably work on firing my first difficult client by then.
Will update on that...

I made a mistake and broke too many red flag rules, but even then, there's a F*cking ton of lessons to learn not just on copywriting, but on building a team. Some lessons are better experienced than done on a course.
 

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ZF Lee

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Interesting convo today...

That client called me up today for an evening feedback session.
For context, I'm helping her to write copy for her digital marketing agency clients- so they are outsourcing work to me lol.

First, she said the agency clients liked my taglines and general copy, from my past projects this week.
Then, she said they didn't like my grammar, and how the copy turned out in the end.

The other copywriter on the call with us (who works with me to translate into Malay) started blabbering about how she needed X information, Y hours to complete task, etc.

Then my client asked us if we did any research.

I just waited until she finished talking, and then told the client:

1. I told her I DO have eyes on the industry, and even competitor emails or sales copy (I even named 2 BRANDS whose email copy AND customer avatar are very similar to theirs).

2. I did not find any problems giving good grammar.
Nowhere in my revisions requests was I asked to amend spelling errors or syntax.
And I have Grammarly on guard.

3. The only things I was told to revise, was to remove lots of things which were actually simple personalization sentences- such as 'Was your work-day tougher than KL traffic?'

And it was THEIR FEEDBACK that directed me to REMOVE them.

So I followed accordingly...and now they are pointing fingers at me for doing what THEY TOLD ME to do so lol.

I told my client that I would do my best to follow their scope and pointers while putting new stuff to the table...but that's so much I can do.

4. I also reminded her I could only work at this current capacity until end of September due to more complex projects on my plate (I had told her weeks before)...but that I'm considering flying off by August's end as my projects were getting 'more urgent'
(I'm basically telling her "Fire me if you wish, if ya don't like me. I got my own biz to do.")

She thanked me, and said that was fine, bla bla bla, clients are just like that, just do research...

Then she asked me to do some Facebook chatbots copy tomorrow.

I asked her to send me the brief, so I can finish them tonight, just in time for Saturday.
I still haven't gotten it...only got one photo of their old chatbot thru WhatsApp.

I've been through a chatbot sequence to buy an online course before, so I KNOW roughly how to put one together.

Maybe she'll send me the full brief tomorrow, so I wrote a short draft first, and will be going to bed soon. Here's a good article on chatbot copy:

On the bright side, I just got my 30% deposit from her, for the monthly retainer that lasts until end of August.

So either I'll have enough happy time to work till September's end for them, or I'll see myself out by August. Which is no big deal. I had to decline SIX Upwork requests in the last 2 weeks, and one was a repeat prospect.

And there's my clientless email project on the horizon.

For freelancing though...@theag was right.

What a drag...Might as well I write copy for my own products, instead of others...
Thanks.
Wait for the end of the week! I'll probably work on firing my first difficult client by then.
Will update on that...

I made a mistake and broke too many red flag rules, but even then, there's a F*cking ton of lessons to learn not just on copywriting, but on building a team. Some lessons are better experienced than done on a course.
A Dubai prospect (whom I declined the first time, due to a busy schedule) invited me for a call tomorrow evening. Info products market. One of my favourite markets.

While I'm happy that it could mean another excuse to ditch the other shitty client (as I might quickly replace that lost cashflow), I remind myself that this client wants long-term collab.

If she agrees to adhere strictly to milestone payments, project-based work and set times for communication, and fixed decision-maker and fixed revision rounds...that will be fine.

Otherwise, I'll say no very, very quickly.
I don't need TWO nightmare clients.

EDIT: I remember mentioning something about refunding deposits and stuff...
REMEMBER to specify in your contract agreements whether the deposit/milestone/partial payment is REFUNDABLE.

Some copywriters on Reddit say they take a non-refundable 50% first.
Some say the deposit is refundable, while a retainer is non-refundable.
Or some small milestone payments can't be refundable to client, while bigger milestones can have some refundable percentage.

So no straight rules here.
Depends on how sure you are of your copywriting chops-that you can fix harsher terms.

So even if either of the client or you decides to bug out, you'd know who can keep or get back the money, and still get something back.
 
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A Dubai prospect (whom I declined the first time, due to a busy schedule) invited me for a call tomorrow evening. Info products market. One of my favourite markets.

While I'm happy that it could mean another excuse to ditch the other shitty client (as I might quickly replace that lost cashflow), I remind myself that this client wants long-term collab.

If she agrees to adhere strictly to milestone payments, project-based work and set times for communication, and fixed decision-maker and fixed revision rounds...that will be fine.

Otherwise, I'll say no very, very quickly.
I don't need TWO nightmare clients.
News from the interview...

Talked for quite a bit until the Dubai prospect said we had to continue tomorrow!
I asked her about the usual stuff-her market, her USP, whether she's already established or not (market sophistication)

When she said she was looking for a long-term copywriter, I encouraged her to do it by project and milestone-based, instead of a full-on monthly retainer.

I then illustrated my case with my experience dealing with the other shitty client.
How there was f*cked up communication, decision-making process changing left and right, and hard to agree on scope.

She actually listened to all that, and even asked for more details! (a good flag?)

Then she explained how she would have orderly copywriting briefs, set times for client calls, draft and revision rounds and best of all, set decision makers-only her and her business partner!

Sounds like a freelancer's wet dream, but it's not in the money yet...and we need to go through the paid test gig stage.

If it all goes well, I'll try to get her test gig going by Saturday, and fire the other shitty client at the same day.

Now to think of it, the Dubai prospect was eager to listen to me rant a little, because she was a passionate type. He job post was very extensive-and her business's USP was also passion-driven mixed with practicality.

So I guess when it comes to telling stories, you got to know who the person is, to tell the RIGHT story HE/SHE WILL APPRECIATE.

Mind that I didn't really plan for that. I just wanted to be honest with her, and show her I had some blood in the copywriting biz.



Speaking of that other shitty client...he had his business assistant send me a GOOGLE DOCS form to ask me for my personal details and bank account to pay out salaries...when he should already know I only take payments on Upwork (ALSO STATED CLEARLY IN MY LAST INVOICE).

Either he forget to tell the assistant, or I'm being treated like a grind worker.

F*ck that. I'll 'fire' him by telling him I'll only be able to respond to his queries once a week only-which he won't be able to keep up with naturally. Just like the Lex course recommended.

BTW, I got my hands on the RMBC Method...and what it taught me about copywriting shook me up.

If anyone tells you copywriting is about wordsmithing...they are wrong.
It's about markets, markets, markets.
Way more shit-ton of research needed...and the assembling of the actual copy gets quicker.

Note: If a copywriting course doesn't have a good research component, don't join it.
 
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HOW TO FIRE A SHITTY CLIENT
(a case study in progress)

1. Text the client:

"Hi XXX, you got time around 2-3PM for a quick call?
I've got something urgent to bring up to you..."

2. Listen to his response:

'Alright, but can you text me first?'
(which he has been doing more and more, since the last few weeks, instead of directly talking to me as usual...a red flag already. He's been handing it over to 2-3 business assistants, which makes decision-making much slower and difficult)

3. Respond with a specific time.

"Yup, will text you around 2-3PM."

4. Prep Action Steps:
  • Lay a fall-cushion for him by thanking and complimenting him
  • Break the news to him that I'll only be able to respond ONCE A WEEK, due to personal obligations (which is unthinkable for him)
  • Suggest that either he agree with that, or pay SIX-THOUSAND for me to continue with work, or we part ways before next month's plans pile up
  • Refund him half his starter fee, since there's already some deliverables I cleared up for him
  • Tell him I'll log out from Drives, Trello etc by Saturday 12PM
  • Compliment and thank him and if I can, send him some doctored portfolio pieces he's OK for me to put on my freelance profile
  • I'll send him a decent Upwork review (will highlight 50% pros and 50% cons)
5.Cut off boggle-heads

Right after I texted the client, HIS ASSISTANT texted me:

'Hi, when can I call you to discuss XXX?'

Which is ill, as I'm gonna let go my client soon. Why get held back by any further work obligations?

'Well, how about call me around 5PM (after I'd let go of my client)?
The other team folks have asked me to help with social media revisions, plus I've got that video script to finish up "

(which were true...but the social media revisions only took 5 mins to finish, and the video script was done, sitting comfortably in their Trello SINCE TWO DAYS AGO)

Assistant: "Well...alright."

Done.

6. Next Steps to be done
Send the 'Dear John' note around 2-3PM. Follow the steps.

To be Continued...
 
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ZF Lee

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( continuation from last Post#104)
7. Follow-up if shitty client doesn't respond.
It has been a day since I gave him the two options. No reply.
Even the Google Drives and team Trello is dead as doornails...

I'll follow-up with him tomorrow, and will most probably give a deadline.

News from the interview...

Talked for quite a bit until the Dubai prospect said we had to continue tomorrow!
I asked her about the usual stuff-her market, her USP, whether she's already established or not (market sophistication)

When she said she was looking for a long-term copywriter, I encouraged her to do it by project and milestone-based, instead of a full-on monthly retainer.

I then illustrated my case with my experience dealing with the other shitty client.
How there was f*cked up communication, decision-making process changing left and right, and hard to agree on scope.

She actually listened to all that, and even asked for more details! (a good flag?)

Then she explained how she would have orderly copywriting briefs, set times for client calls, draft and revision rounds and best of all, set decision makers-only her and her business partner!

Sounds like a freelancer's wet dream, but it's not in the money yet...and we need to go through the paid test gig stage.
As for my Dubai prospect, we finished the second call today.

Discussed about working arrangements, pricing and our upcoming test gig.

Before this second call, I sent her a list of questions that we would cover as the 'meat-and-potatoes', so that we would cover what we really need to cover, and not waste too much time talking crap haha.

Something like providing the agenda before an official association meeting.

I told her that some of these questions would be revisited for our copywriting research phase.

That blew her away! She complimented me for being really organised.
She told me I didn't need to do it, since she had briefs and other frameworks up.

She told me she was thinking of a monthly retainer.
I encouraged her to adopt a project-basis approach, and told her it would allow us to fix project scopes more efficiently.

To my surprise, she was open to it!
She agreed to have me send her a list of my project prices.

I will also add on a brief breakdown of my onboarding (how we will run from first idea to project start) & offboarding processes (how we will run from pre-draft, to revisions and to final drafts).

She seems to have these protocols set already, but she welcomed them whole-heartedly.

This is a VERY SHARP contrast to that shitty client earlier, who simply set deadlines and stuff on the fly, or let somebody else take over and build-up on massive delays!!!! How hard is it for clients (and freelancers) to send some clear checklists and have an A-Z process in place, to make everyone happy???



(To be continued...)


EDIT 1:
After we finish the test project successfully and start working together for real, I'll send the Dubai
prospect a snapshot of available slots for booking calls, spanning 3-weeks or 1-month ahead.

Not many copywriters do it, but this could give my clients better expectations on when they can reach out to me, and get good responses.

EDIT 2:
8. Don't wait for the weekend to finish the fire

I sent out the first letting-go notice to the shitty client around Thursday.
Friday, Sat and Sunday (today) are gone...and today I sent him a follow-up, asking for the call again.
Even suggested a specific time (2PM tomorrow- I know he has stuff to do in the morning)

He just murmured, 'Go bring this up with my assistant...'

WTF? Who's paying me in the first place? She? Or him?
Now that's the biggest red flag I have ever seen.
I'm now wondering how many black-and-white terms and disqualifiers I'll need to put up on my Upwork profile update later...
 
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